January 7, 2004


O.k., I have to admit it. I was ready to start the new year with a clean shaven face and a new found positive spin on life. Sadly, I was a fool. Not about the ‘positive spin on life’, I’m lovin’ 2004! After all, my motto is “Smile More in ’04!”. And I mean every word of that.

No, I was a fool for shaving off my beard. It has been 48 hours, and it has not grown back yet. I have shaved once, which was the initial deed. I can’t bring myself to shave again. My face feels naked, cold, raw and rashy. I feel vulnerable. Queer Eye’s Fab Five be damned, I’m growing back my beard.

On one of our shopping jaunts over the last month, Earl and I stopped at “The Body Shop”. We picked up various accessories, including their “premiere” shaving cream. Now this isn’t a puff of foam for 99 cents, no, this is a small tube for $8.00. According to the pitch provided by the repeatedly pierced sales person, using this stuff is suppose to be just one step shy of orgasmic. Perhaps for the pincushion, it was used in such a manner. More importantly to me, it proudly proclaimed “Not Tested On Animals”. I think the animals fought back before they implemented that policy or something.

I had initially clipped my beard off with my beard trimmer and ran around looking very Don Johnson with lots of stubble. But then I decided I need to go all the way, so I headed to the bathroom. I should have known that when I didn’t hear a heavenly chorus of angels proclaim “Ohhhhhhhhh” in a joyous manner that this “premiere shaving cream” wasn’t all it was suppose to be. When I put it on my face, I thought I had mistakenly applied solidified lighter fluid. However, after the initial numbing pain, I got used to it. So I went to work with the Mach III. After millions of dollars of research, I can say that the Mach III is still an engineering marvel and does bring joy to one’s shaving routine, especially those of us that choose to be Bald By Choice. So I brought my cheeks and chin to their pre-pubescent smoothness, despite the rash I was developing from the shaving cream. I looked at myself and said, “Damn, you looked better with the beard.”

I suppose every man that shaves off his beard is hoping for something better than he started with when he looks in the mirror after “the big shave”. Well it something that we can dream about. I can not get used to my face without a beard. In my mind’s eye, I still see myself bearded. When I look in the mirror, all I see is pasty white. I mean WHITE! Very WHITE! Devoid of my head hair and my beard, along with my blond eyebrows, I was accused of looking like a Q-Tip. And the folks at work say they’re my friends.

It wasn’t very smart of me to shave off my beard at the beginning of the coldest week in years. Weather forecasters are saying we’re not going to get out of the single digits for the next 10 days or so. Thank God for the soul patch I left under my lip. At least the coroner will be able to identify my hair color when they find me dead from freezing to death.

And Thank GOD for Earl. God Bless Him, he’ll support me no matter what. Small wonder I love him without hesitation. I told him tonight at supper I was growing back my beard. He’ll have to endure the nightly “progress reports” for the next month or so until something substantial plants itself.

So after this dance with conformity, yesterday, January 5, 2004, I began The Great Beard V2.0. I’m done shaving. I’ve tossed out the “Premiere Shaving Cream”. The Mach III has been laid to rest. May the fur grow, and the cheeks and chin no longer be barren.

And may the fool learn from this experience.